This is one of my favorite weathers in my land, in the highlands. People from the coast feel it like an intimidating weather but to me the experience is quite different. There is no sun so I can run and explore and I feel so powerful as the landscape itself; like if would be a giant of thousands of meters made of energy creating the world with my steps.
Except when there is an electric storm; outside the city borders the death is not by cold or heat but by electricity.
Two clouds have a meeting in their secret language.
Arequipa is a city in the Peruvian southwest in a valley in the north of Atacama’s desert. It was relatively a new city founded during the Inca Empire. After that Spaniards came and change the name misspelling it to its actual shape. Probably meant originally their location related to Misti volcano. I believe it could be a signal that it was a city planned to the future so its name could mean more something like place of tomorrow.
There are three important mountains that are seen from the city: Chachani, Misti and Pichu Pichu. I climbed the last of them… but that’s a post for another day.
This is the most western city upon Peru, as native that means that I feel a bit foreigner in that city. I don’t understand the raison d’être about certain foods and traditions, but if you are from Europe I think you could feel this city closer to you. Mostly my friends there, just a few, are from the old families, mostly the population now has a great percentage of sons and daughters of newcomers and to prove their new identity can be a bit harsh with people from other cities. I went there because studies, if I would know about that characteristic I think I would chosen another city.
The city is built with white volcanic rock. In colonial times it was painted with a lot of happy colors but in twentieth century a mayor decided to let the city with white walls; what could be a terrible mistake because the Sun is strong. It’s the city with the second world strongest solar radiation after Cairo.
But there is a revival to recover colors:
Among the merits Arequipa could shine in two: it’s probably the cleanest city in Peru, that because the people take care of the city; the second one is the cultural activity is powerful and there are artists and thinkers in several fields.
Upon the valley
Arequipa is a city whose economics are strongly linked to the agribusiness so the countryside is in the center of the city, omnipresent.
And that would be all for today, hope you find something interesting ;-)
There was a time with a girl who used to bite me near the neck when the night was plenty. She did it to say things that she couldn’t talk, at least I understood it that way. Her kisses and hugs are from past times, I thought it seeing that last sunset lights in the mountain, as little kisses. Time to dream.
Midday mostly means you in the traffic, in a hurry to go to eat, trying to finish a work, the sound and the fury of the city that knows that it’s the little time for a noisy break. The world without you, I mean, the world outside your world is like to travel across the time, a slower world, with its own fights but so different to our cell phone or internet fights.
Some night a colleague called me. Apparently he needed to travel to Cotahuasi Canyon, to an obscure city called Huaynacotas to take some measures from a project but the journey last fifteen hours and to come back it’s needed at least two days. So he offered me to go with everything paid. I said oki doki so I took a bus to a city I’ve never heard before.
A road half ended, a super violent movie, and several hours after I arrived to the capital city, Cotahuasi, and I had to wait one hour more before another bus took me to Huaynacotas. There are buses just very early before the sunrise and in the afternoon to take the last buses to Arequipa from Cotahuasi. So I was prepared to stay between one or even five days.
But the mayor wasn’t in town (he was a day of distance in car) so I hadn’t nobody to take me to the distant places to measure. I went to the city hall to study the documents and used the few hours before go to the buses to take some photographs. I am not tourist, nor photographer, but I think there are some things that shouldn’t be forgotten, so I share some of them.
The morning was cold, but with the course of the day there was a sunny day.
Every town has moved from it’s original place, this is because the mess Spaniards caused when they invaded the Empire. The original place was probably in the ruins upside, it’s in the red top:
I noticed a tendency in women dresses to use red or fuchsia tones. In Perú you can guess the precedence of a women from the colors or designs they have in their vestment. Of course that doesn’t apply to Peruvian western women because with their clothing you cannot guess their city but their shopping center ; – )
A polarizer it’s indispensable for everything that has light reflected as leaves, and with the harsh midday light it can be the difference between a shot that represent what we see against a chaos of white glints. But I reduced the intense blue it give to the atmosphere because that’s very dark compared with the natural midday blue.
As eternal proof to the person who sent me that I was there and not in an Arequipa hotel with alcohol, drugs and girls I took a selfie with my original hat from La Paz ;-), although I’d carried my light hat to hot weather because the temperature was a bit oppressive, this because it’s just to 2700 meters above the sea level (my own city is a thousand meters higher), and the day before I cut my cheek with the razor blade so I guess I arrived to Huaynacotas made a completely mess, lol.
That was Huaynacotas, a place were women love red in their clothes, the houses are made of adobe, where there is a red watcher that speaks of ancient times, where everyday you see mountains, forests, roads that need days to go to anywhere and where your life is longer because one day there is like a week in a big city. It would be nice to be more time to understand it better. I’m aymara and found another from my kin there, a gentle woman that came from a city near my own city; Huaynacotas is actually a quechua town so in a certain way it’s like travel to a familiar realm but with those little differences that for be so similar are at the same time so big. I found kind people, I hope they are doing well.